MaxTo: maximize your windows to user-defined regions

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MaxTo is a free program that splits your screen into custom regions and then nables you to maximize and snap your windows to these regions on-demand.

It supports 2 “layers”, main and alternate, such that the user can split the screen into, say, vertical regions in one layer and horizontal regions in another (or even vertical/horizontal combinations) .

It allows you to toggle window maximization for the main and alternate settings via two user-definable hotkeys, such that maximizing without pressing hotkeys results in normal window maximizing behavior.

Windows 7’s “snap” feature, where windows snap to vertical or horizontal half-screens, seems to have found some traction with users and bloggers alike.

I can understand completely as once you start using it, at least in my experience, you will discover that it really is very useful. What MaxTo does is very similar to the snap feature in that it lets you define areas in your screen that you can maximize your windows to; however there are a number of interesting differences, as follows:

  • It is not activated by dragging windows to the edge of the screen, as Windows 7 does it, but is toggled through normal maximization of windows with the optional use of a keyboard hotkey.
  • It allows you to split your screen into multiple “regions”, for example 3 regions per screen, etc.
  • It gives you a main and alternate layer, and assigns a hotkey to each. This doubles the region configurations you have to play with in one stroke.

Here are more notes on this program:

  • How to use: define your regions for both your “main” and “alternate” settings. To toggle window snapping you simply maximize your windows as normal while pressing a hotkey. Your window will snap onto the closest region you pre-defined.
  • Hotkeys: are user definable. There are two of them (Shift and ALT by default), enabling you to alternate between the regions in your main and alternate settings. You can choose between a “passive” setting where MaxTo will require a pressed hotkey to act, or reverse the process by turning passive setting off and letting Maxto default to snapping to the regions in your main setting as the default maximizing behavior without using a hotkey.
  • Memory consumption: this is hard to gauge because it uses the .NET Framework (seems to fluctuate between 12 and 26 megs, but in fact this means very litte). The authors state on their site that MaxTo is “lightweight” and I will take their word for it.
  • Multimonitor support: is provided.
  • MaxTo Screenshot - pre-set prfilesProfiles: a number of pre-set regions are there to select from for your convenience (see image to the right).

The verdict: I quite like this one. If you like to simply have a copy of the Windows 7 window snapping behavior you might want to take a look at freeware Aerosnap, which delivers this for XP/Vista. Alternately, if you like to have more options, more control over what the on-screen regions look like, and hotkey-enabled interaction window snapping (which I prefer to dragging the window to the edge of the screen), then by all means give this one a shot.

[Thanks go to my friend Mraei for tipping me off about MaxTo]

Version Tested: 2990.3.1

Compatibility: Windows XP, Vista. 64-bit and 32-bit versions available. Requires MS.NET framework version 2.0 or higher (preinstalled on Windows Vista).

[Update Jun 11th, 2009] MaxTo is no longer freeware; however, you can download the freeware version tested in this post here. Make sure to disable automatic updates to prevent MaxTo from automatically upgrading to the paid version.

Go to the program page to for more info and to download the latest version (approx 169K). For the FREE version read the update above under “compatibility”.